Universe 2008 Classics 2.0 Dirge

Truthfully, I’m more of a romantic country music type.

The second release of this mold in the U.S. The story of Dirge’s mold is interesting enough to be notable.

Back in… what was it, 2006? Japan was airing the Transformers series known as Galaxy Force, which would be ported over as Cybertron in the U.S. Naturally, there’s a Starscream character, and in Japan, he was a Voyager-sized toy with flip out arm blades for his Force Chip (Cyber Planet Key) gimmick.

The thing is, this version never made it to the U.S., not exactly. The Hasbro version was a Supreme-sized toy (which was even bigger than Armada Unicron!) based on the “Emperor” Starscream version of the character. You see, around the midway point of the series, Starscream managed to get himself a power-up, growing humungous in size and fashioning a giant crown for himself and a few other goodies. That’s the version that was available under the Hasbro banner. Pity that despite the size upgrade and a few relatively minor extras, there was supposedly little change as compared to the Galaxy Force version. If you were expecting articulated fingers, extra detailing and whatnot, you’re out of luck chum!

After that, Hasbro came out with a Voyager 2-Pack featuring Vector Prime and a Voyager sized Starscream with a paint scheme that made him look more like Thrust than Starscream. Heck, let’s face it, it wasn’t Starscream at all, it was Thrust. Mind you, he looked awesome, but it’d mean getting the Hasbro version of Vector Prime to get him, and if you had already gotten that version of Vector Prime in his single release… well, out of luck again chummers!

So now we come to Dirge, who is based on a mold that some people had said was more like a Deluxe sized up to a Voyager; who was in turn, at one point, sized up into a Supreme. Is Dirge da bomb or does Dirge bomb? We shall see.


Vehicle Mode
A surprisingly good mode when you actually have him. I always thought that the Galaxy Force Starscream’s vehicle mode was lame. The robot mode seemed kibbly and the black head stuck out amidst the mostly white body.

Not so with Dirge. His color scheme allows him to blend his head in much more naturally than the original GF Screamer (or for that matter, the Hasbro Supreme Starscream with the Crown sticking out). And if you don’t consider that he’s trying to look like a tetra-jet, he looks awesome. The rich blue and black color scheme DOES hide the details somewhat, but pictures just don’t do the vehicle mode justice. There’s a very classic 70s Cool Jet vibe to the vehicle mode. Were it not for the fact that Dirge and the Starscreams are out and out villains, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine them being piloted by hot blooded pilots of great justice.

That this is a totally alien/Cybertronian design helps hide the fact that this is a very simple and kibbly mode. A case of concept covering execution.

Despite the lack of any stand out features, I gotta give this guy a high score in the vehicle mode department.

**** out of *****

Transformation
Simple but not necessarily fun. It doesn’t have any particular stand out twist, but it’s not a bad transformation per se. Still, due to the loud clickity ratchett joints and the fact you gotta exert some force to free the feet, I keep feeling like I’ll break him, despite also feeling he’s tough enough to take the abuse. Middle of the road transformation; leaning on down I would say.

**1/2 out of *****

Herr Roboto Modo
Okay, so peeps say he’s just an oversized deluxe, and in some ways, that is true. HOWEVER, once I got him, I gotta admit, Voyager’s about as small as you can get him. It’s not to say he’s riddled with detail or features or panels or whatnot. But the thing is, this is one Starscream mode that’s BUFFED. A mere deluxe would not do the mold justice, and simply detract from it. He needs to be at least thiiiiiis big to be effectively conveyed.

So no, far as I’m concerned, Dirge deserves to be just where he is, size-wise.

Onto the toy itself, Dirge looks cool. The blue works, I love the tone. Whilst the black is okay, though it does obscure his features at a distance. My fig is somewhat bummed in that the Cyber Key Gimmick doesn’t work for one arm, I have to manually take a knife and sort of wiggle it free. That particular arm has it where his forearm won’t peg into his shoulder either. Although I’m not sure that’s a minus, as the black hides the fact that it ain’t pegged in, and being unpegged means there’s more by way of articulation, though he wouldn’t be able to hold any heavy weaponry in his hand for that forearm.

Speaking of forearms, that’s this mold’s biggest stupid “mistake”. His forearms are shooooort. And I mean SHORT. Ewoks have more forearm than Dirge, heck, Graboids have more forearms. This is one “feature” that pictures tend to cover up well, but all those other reviewers were right, he’s got short forearms. Considering his alien design, they really could have lengthened the forearms with no ill effect on the general aesthetic.

Articulation-wise, his big bulky shoulders highly limit his arm articulation beyond a vertical 360. It’s actually quite pathetic how little he can move his arms to the sides, and it’s simply not helped by his aforementioned short forearms. Fortunately, Dirge has excellent leg articulation, so even with the limited arm articulation, he’s still capable of quite a few dynamic poses.

The engineering is iffy, but Dirge scores high for sheer shelf presence.

**** out of *****

Overall
I started toy collecting late, but as I picked up the late or redecoed Deluxe Transformers from the Cybertron line, I found myself in dismay at their relatively limited articulation. They all looked, played and felt phenomenal, but articulation was generally limited to the big 7 (neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees). While Dirge isn’t the most articulated figure in the world, he and Blades (a Cybertron Evac redeco) would come to change my view on the awesomeness of the Cybertron line. I’ve severely underestimated how great the Cybertron toys were.

In short, Dirge is a winner. I got him at a reduced price, so he’s totally worth it to me. But for full price, you gotta take into account that he’s not very feature filled. Recommended nonetheless.

***3/4 out of *****

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One Response to Universe 2008 Classics 2.0 Dirge

  1. Pingback: Toy review roundup : Fanmode

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